Manqué
by Sharanya Manivannan


In my balcony the pigeon’s egg
rolls around, nestless. The woman
who sweeps here will not break it,
so she lifts away each day’s new
debris of twig and feather
but leaves the little thing untouched
on the floor. I do not know if
pigeons parent in couples,
but there are two of them who
hover around, flap and flutter,
reacting each time I clap. I sit at
my window and clap often. I have
no cigarettes, or drink, but too much
time on my hands to read omens.
A woman with her wet hair undone
on the roof of the next building.
A bicycle bell. The lover I have taken
after a long time, uncomplicated as
profanity. If you think of me, now
or ever, don’t think of me here: indolent,
invidious, in a caftan so loose my breasts
nearly fall out of it, as far as I have ever
been from the apparition you mistook
me for, beautiful and cruel, irresistible
as transgression, something more clever
and wondrous than a creature with so much
plumage she could not even take flight.






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